Bengaluru FC – Season Preview 2022/23

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Bengaluru FC have been undergoing an overhaul which can be seen in their recruitment style. They haven’t made it big in the league after winning the title in 2018-19. They got knocked out in the Semi-finals the following season and failed to finish in the top half of the table in the following two. They saw the sacking of Carles Cuadrat and let go of Marco Pezzaouli. Simon Grayson took the tutelage in his hands and despite the scrappy type of football, they managed to win the Durand Cup which could finally be a glimmer of hope for the owners and fans alike.

IFTWC's assessment of Bengaluru FC
IFTWC’s assessment of Bengaluru FC 22-23

Head Coach

Englishman Simon Grayson has previously managed Sunderland, Fleetwood Town, Blackpool, Bradford, Leeds and Preston North End. This is his first assignment outside the United Kingdom. The first-ever tournament outside his home country ended up in trophy celebrations. That’s quite a thing to add to one’s CV.

The coach used 3-5-2 majorly. This has been one of his preferred formations throughout his managerial career. This adds much more sense to the signings the club made for this season.

Foreign Signings

Apart from Alan Costa, Bruno Ramires and Prince Ibarra, there have been new signings on the foreigners’ front. The biggest of them is Roy Krishna. He needs no introduction to the Indian Football fraternity. Another familiar face is Javi Hernandez, who signed on a free transfer from Odisha FC. He should prove to be a vital signing as BFC have always lacked instinct on the creative front. He and Roy Krishna as well should increase the creativity to a notch.

One of the few arrivals from the A-League included Aleksandar Jovanovic. He landed from Macarthur FC where he was a vital part since their inception in the league. His passing game would be healthy for the Bengaluru defence. The club, under Marco last season, conceded way more than they should have.

These three shall constitute the three most influential signings by the team.

Domestic Signings

The epicentre of the club’s transfer business was Kolkata. Apart from Roy Krishna, they signed up Prabir Das (ATK Mohun Bagan), Faisal Ali (Mohammedan SC), Hira Mondal (East Bengal) and Sandesh Jhinghan (ATK Mohun Bagan). Hira Mondal was amongst the best performers in his position last season, while Bengaluru FC finally got their hands on Faisal Ali who they pursued last season too.

The other Bengali full-back signing Prabir Das got a chunk of minutes in the Durand Cup. His partnership with Roy Krishna has terrorized Bengaluru FC in the past. Sandesh Jhinghan, the national team starter, has found the going get tough ever since he signed for HNK Sibenik. He has lost his touch but he will eagerly be waiting to retain his ‘best Centre Back in India’ tag with his return to the Blues. Honestly speaking, this is the most underrated signing in the whole of the Indian Football market.

Strength

This squad is exceptional on paper. They have some big names across the field donning their jersey, from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all way to Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri. At the forward line, the much exciting prospect of Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna playing together has finally come true. The partnership bore fruit in the triumphant Durand Cup campaign.

But in a team of two legendary strikers, the highest scorer was Siva Sakti. He scored five goals in the campaign, including a goal in the 1-0 victory in the final. With the added prospect of Udanta, Faisal and Leon Augustine, this is going to be one most worth-watching forward lines in the ISL 2022-23.

Weakness

Last season, Bengaluru FC underperformed at both ends. That’s something to draw from comparing the underlying stats to that of the actual number. The defence would be an interesting aspect to see whether they improved on last season or not. After all, they have signed Sandesh Jhinghan and Aleksandar Jovanovic. Gurpreet’s performance would also be under scrutiny, to be critical. He hasn’t been himself for quite a time.

Grayson’s sides aren’t known for fluid passing. Creativity hasn’t been BFC’s strength for a long time. They have Javi in the middle. But it will come down to tactics whether they look to utilise his skills or not. As it looks, the strikers may get overloaded with responsibility, eventually affecting the team’s goalscoring. And not scoring goals will again lead to a major disappointment, especially after having Krishna and Chhetri upfront.

Bengaluru FC Possible XI

Bengaluru FC - Season Preview 2022/23 20221002 194933
IFTWC’s Predicted Lineup for Bengaluru FC 22-23

Conclusion

BFC are entering the tournament on the back of the Durand Cup victory. But what happened to FC Goa last season makes people raise a cautious eye about the possibilities of BFC’s winning this season. It would be an absurd statement to make that they are ‘the’ title contenders. But what makes sense is that they are genuine contenders for Final Four.

Chetan Anand
Chetan Anand
Radars Football, Cricket and Motorsports

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